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A Royal Proposition (Paperback)

A Royal Proposition (Paperback)

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Paperback

She’s all that stands between him and his dream. But maybe it’s time for a new dream…

Princess Alessa is 
finally free. Now that her sister is Queen and their rightful place in Atharia is secure, she can embark on a Season in London and begin work to help the less fortunate. Or she could—if only her gruff, blunt, and entirely too handsome guard would stay out of her way…

Rowan Oakley is on the verge of having the wealth and security he’s always craved. All he must do to earn it is kill the fiery, obstinate, and very enticing Alessa. It’s an easy assignment. Or it 
would be—if only he could keep his thoughts (and mouth) off his target…

It’s not long before Rowan is caught between what he’s always wanted, and the prospect of a love he never expected. But in the end, is happily ever after even a possibility for a royal and the poor, former street urchin sent to kill her?

PAPERBACK

Paperback

202 pages

Dimensions

5 x 8 inches (127 x 203 mm)

ISBN

9780645204780

Publication Date

November 29, 2023

Publisher

Tamara Gill

Read a Sample

Princess Alessa of Atharia was not so certain now that she had entered the London Season that her choice to come here was one of her best plans. With her eldest sister busy ruling Atharia as the new queen and her adoring husband never far from her side, Alessa's royal duties would be better served elsewhere. Thankfully her sister had agreed.
Truthfully, Alessa had wanted adventure. To leave Atharia for a time and see some of the world herself. London had been her choice, but the Season was not at all what she expected.
She was staying in London with Duke Sotherton and his sister-in-law, a widow, Lady Bagshaw, acting as her chaperone. It had started swimmingly. A lovely London townhouse, happily situated on Piccadilly in Mayfair, she was where everyone who was anyone wished to be.
What Alessa had not expected were her two guards, who shadowed her every move while at her entertainments. If the burly men had their way, they would follow her into the retiring room, she was sure.
She sighed, watched as the many men, all eligible gentlemen for a woman in her position, walked past without an offer to dance, to converse, or anything at all. And she knew the reason why. They stood at her back, arms crossed, glaring at everyone who passed.
Lady Bagshaw, Aunt Rosemary as she liked to be called, cast a curious glance over her shoulder. Her ladyship more than aware of Alessa's annoyance at her sister's demand that she have two guards to keep her safe during the Season. Why she could not just use Marco, whom she'd known since she was a young woman, was beyond her. No, her sister hired a new guard, an Englishman who knew his way about London and was willing to use blunt force to keep her safe.
She stemmed the shiver that threatened to tremble down her spine at the thought of the English brute who stood to her left. Never had she seen a scarier man, muscular and tall, his shoulders strong enough to lift her with one hand, she was sure, and without breaking into a sweat.
How was it that there were such men in England? She had always thought the men to be a little pasty white, a genteel type of man. The one behind her would certainly choose whisky over a cup of tea.
"Why you must have these guards in the ballroom is beyond me," Aunt Rosemary said, casting another quick look over her shoulder at the men at their backs. "They really will impede your chances of marriage, I think. Why, the men here this evening are already scared of them."
Alessa sipped her wine, only too aware the guards at her back were as annoying as a pebble in her silk slipper. "My sister insisted upon it. There are reports of men here in England who still sympathize with my uncle's cause back in Atharia, and I, therefore, must be guarded. An absurd notion, for I have not felt the least bit threatened."
Aunt Rosemary frowned. "But did he not pass away? I thought the attempt to overthrow your sister was finished with, now that he is no longer about."
They had hoped it was over, but yet again, even from the grave, her uncle had reached out a selfish, decaying hand to attempt a coup. In Alessa's opinion, a waste of time as her home country, Atharia, was prospering under her sister and her new husband's rule. The country was alive again. People were free to increase their wealth through work and travel, and not have a corrupt monarchy breathing down their necks, telling them what they could and could not do, how to spend their money or raise their children.
Who would not want such a free life? To follow her uncle’s evil regime made no sense at all—an unforgivable act.
"He did pass away, but I suppose there are those who are unable to let go the fact their evil plot did not come to fruition and seek revenge. I do not think they will try anything silly against me, but my guards are here to stay, and there is little I can do to dissuade my sister from requiring them."
Aunt Rosemary leaned close, dropping her voice to a whisper. "The English one, he is very handsome for a guard. Maybe I should put myself in peril if it means such a specimen will follow me about town."
Alessa choked on her sip of wine, coughing to cover her laugh. "You are too wicked, but as for your statement, I have no opinion. He was vetted and hired by our royal aids. When I arrived at Sotherton Estate, he was waiting for me along with Duke Sotherton. We traveled to London the following day, and the guard has not left my side since." And becoming quite the inconvenience if she were to consider any of the gentlemen here in England for marriage. She was used to Marco lurking in the background, but the Englishman, Mr. Oakley if she remembered correctly, seemed different. More obsessed over being about her person.
"I thought to speak to the duke about them guarding your door at night. Surely they would sit at the stairs at the very least. To me, guarding your door almost gives your location away to any intruder."
Alessa frowned, unaware they remained so close to her person at that time, but she supposed one of them always stood guard, as was their employment. "You are right in your observations. I would welcome you speaking to the duke about the arrangement." The thought of the English brute standing at the ready, not a few feet from her when she was gowned in nothing but a shift made heat kiss her cheeks. Would his dark, hooded, gaze warm at the sight of her dressed in such a way?
Alessa downed her wine, wondering where that thought had come from. A man of no wealth or power was not whom she or her family would ever allow her to marry. No matter how devastatingly handsome or how alluring his dangerous demeanor made him to the opposite sex.
She was royal and expected to marry well. Alessa caught sight of Wyatt, Earl Douglas, coming toward her. She felt the approach of her protectors closer to her back as his lordship bowed before her and Lady Bagshaw. She smiled, giving him her hand in welcome. Wyatt was a sweet gentleman, and there was a time when she thought she felt more for him than one would feel for a friend, but she had long ago decided otherwise.
They were friends, yes, and she hoped they would remain so. He had been so very helpful to her during her uncle's coup attempt last year. But there was little attraction between them. She had seen how much her elder sister adored her husband, her eyes warming every time they were together.
She wanted that as well.
She wanted to burn for her husband. Never did she wish to marry, simply because the gentleman was appropriate or titled or wealthy. Such a union would never work.
"Your Highness, Lady Bagshaw, how very fortunate we all are that you're here this evening. Will you do me the honor of dancing with me, Princess Alessa?" Lord Douglas asked, a genuine smile on his lips.
Alessa inclined her head, allowing him to lead her out onto the floor. "Thank you, yes. That would be very nice." The music commenced, a waltz her favorite dance. She threw herself into the dance, enjoying the music and the man who was also her friend.
She supposed that was one of the main reasons she no longer saw Lord Douglas in a romantic sense. He reminded her of a sibling more than a potential lover and husband.
"You look very beautiful this evening, Princess Alessa. I hope you do not take offense to me saying so."
"Not at all," she replied. How could anyone dislike being told they appear beautiful? The last year in Atharia had been hard, no balls and parties, no meeting the people of her homeland. She had been a prisoner and treated far beneath her station and what she ought to be afforded as a princess. The degradation, the insults, and the slurs were never-ending when her uncle ruled. To be here now in London, in a sweet gentleman's arms who wanted to dote on her and dole out compliments was just the thing. "You may flatter me to your heart's content, my lord."
He grinned, a look that ought to make a woman's heart flutter. Her heart did not, nor would it ever for this man. She would have to tell him soon that there was no future for them. He would be disappointed, of course, but it was for the best. He ought to move on, court another more willing lady and gain the great love she knew he wanted.
"Have I told you that I'm so very happy that you're in London this year? I know you have not had an easy time, but as a peer of the realm, I do hope we're making your stay here in England enjoyable."
Alessa glanced about the room at the other dancers surrounding them, not wanting to appear more attached to the man in her arms than she was. Until she found that special one who made her blood pound fast in her veins, she would have to guard her reactions and words.
Lord Douglas pulled her into a turn, and her gaze settled on her English guard. Rowan was his name, and it suited him, she decided. He watched her dance. His mouth pulled into a disapproving line, a severe frown between his brows to the point it looked as if he were about to strike someone—or wanted to.
He was so very severe all the time, and yet something about him captured her attention.
"I am enjoying myself very much," she replied jovially.
"Your guards are not an impediment? They watch you like hawks."
Alessa couldn't agree more, but there was little she could do about it now. Having guards was a given, since she was a princess. It was just a shame they could not be more inconspicuous. "That is the employment my sister hired them to do, so I suppose it would be odd if they did not."
"Of course," he agreed, "but to be honest with you, Princess Alessa, no gentleman wants those two brutes breathing down his neck."
She giggled. All points she was well aware of. Mayhap she ought to start making Marco and Mr. Oakley stand outside the ballroom doors instead of at her back. Was his lordship trying to tell her in the nicest way possible that the reason he was continually asking her to dance and no one else was because they were fearful over her guards, and he was not? He had dealt with similar situations last year in Atharia.
Something had to change, and it would not be her.
The waltz came to an end, and she dipped into a curtsy, welcoming when Lord Douglas led her back to where Lady Bagshaw stood.
Lord Douglas did not remain and excused himself when Mr. Oakley glared at his lordship with so much loathing it was almost palpable.
Alessa had enough. She walked up to her guards, close enough that only they would hear her words. "This must end. I cannot have you both standing behind my person, night after night, scaring off the gentlemen who may wish to court me. I shall never meet anyone if you two are always glaring and growling at everyone."
Marco threw her a pitying glance, but Mr. Oakley merely crossed his arms over his chest, puffing himself up and making himself look larger still. How was he able to look taller and more muscular all of a sudden?
And why did the sight of his large upper arms make her mouth water?
Absurd behavior.
"We do apologize, Your Highness, but we are under orders. Unless you are safe and stowed in your rooms at Sotherton's London townhouse, you must be within our presence and view at all times. That is our queen's decree, one we cannot break," Marco said, pity in his tone.
Alessa crossed her arms, mimicking the English god staring down at her as if she were some annoying gnat he wanted to squash.
"Would you prefer that you are killed, Princess?"
She did not miss the Englishman's condescension, and nor was it missed by Marco.
"Watch your tone when speaking to Her Highness," Marco said, his voice like steel.
Mr. Oakley’s lips twitched as if amused by being reprimanded by Marco. "I am working for your sister the queen under direction by the government here in England. I do not take nicely to playing babysitter to a royal who wishes to flout about England and accomplish little other than finding a husband. I shall keep you safe, but I will not flatter you or declare utter devotion at your feet simply because you are a princess. If you dislike the way I work, feel free to replace me at your earliest convenience."
Alessa felt her mouth gape, and she shut it, her teeth chattering at the impact. Marco bowed to her. "If you would excuse us, Your Highness. We shall be within view. We merely need to discuss the particulars of moving you on to your next ball."
"Of course," she said, still unable to believe her English guard had dared talk to her in such a way. No one spoke to her in that manner.
If she were not so very shocked, she might have been a little proud of the man.

Main Tropes

  • Bodyguard Romance
  • Royal Romance
  • Regency Romance
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